Sharon Apfelbaum is a writer and historian with a passion for public service. Sharon graduated from George Washington University with a degree in English Literature. She worked as a legislative aide to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. before moving to Palm Springs with her physician-husband Bart and starting their family.
Early on she was active in public schools and League of Women Voters, served on the board of Village Center for the Arts, and as a docent for Palm Springs Art Museum and treasurer of its Contemporary Arts Council. She was also a board member of Community Concerts, Friends of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Riverside County Women’s and Flood Control Commissions. She helped originate the Palm Springs International Film Festival and served on its board. She was Director of Development for Palm Springs Desert Museum and Director of Wildlights for the Living Desert.
After terms on Palm Springs Planning and Architectural Advisory Commissions, Ms. Apfelbaum won a seat on Palm Springs City Council and served as Vice Mayor under Mayor Sonny Bono.
As a Congressional appointee, Sharon served on the Bureau of Land Management’s Desert District Advisory Council. She helped actualize the San Jacinto/Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument while serving as a board member of Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy.
She is a freelance writer specializing in travel and food. She has written for Westways, Palm Springs Life, the Los Angeles Times, the Press Enterprise, the Desert Sun’s Next magazine, Desert Key, American Style and Latin American Art magazines, among others. A longtime Western horseback rider, she co-authored with former Mayor Frank Bogert the book View from the Saddle: Characters Who Have Crossed My Trail. She also co-published and edited The Public Record, the Coachella Valley’s business and legal newspaper.
Today she serves on the board of Palm Springs Historical Society and as a docent leads walking tours of Palm Springs’ historic downtown area and its neighborhoods.
Fred Bell has decades of experience in private enterprise and public service. Currently the Chief Operating Officer of Nobel Energy Solutions, Mr. Bell draws upon that experience to help develop solar power facilities for individual commercial clients in the southwest United States.
Previously, Mr. Bell served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Building Industry Association, Desert Chapter. There, he was key in developing the “California Green Builder” initiative, which became the industry’s flagship renewable energy program. In 2008, Mr. Bell won the California Building Industry Association Chairman’s Award, the first time it was awarded since 1943. That same year he was named the CEO for the Building Industry Association of Southern California.
Before that, Mr. Bell was the Vice President of Exhibitor Relations for VAI, a pioneer in the development of themed entertainment attractions using digital media. He also has management development and operations management with Edwards Theatres, IMAX, and Sea World theme parks.
Locally, Mr. Bell has been on the Board of Directors at the Palm Springs Air Museum for 16 years. He has been Vice Chairman and Managing Director at the Palm Springs Library Foundation since its inception.
DR. TRACY CONRAD
Tracy Conrad is a preservationist and bibliophile. She received her B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and her M.D. from the University of Southern California. She was Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles County Medical Center before moving full-time to the desert.
Dr. Conrad has served on the Historic Site Preservation Board, the Architectural Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission for the City of Palm Springs, as well as the Architecture and Design Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation. She is currently a board member of the Palm Springs Historical Society, the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the Aluminaire Foundation, and the Palm Springs Library Foundation.
Dr. Conrad wrote and directed Smoke Tree Ranch, A Way of Life, and edited and contributed to Brief Architectural Guide to Palm Springs. She was a regular contributor to the Desert Magazine. Dr. Conrad also co-authored The Thomas O'Donnell House with Tony Merchell, and Einstein Dreamt Here with Steve Vaught.
Dr. Conrad and her husband own several architecturally and historically significant homes in Palm Springs, where they live with their two teenage children.
HARRY R. COURTRIGHT
Harry R. Courtright dedicated his career to the service and support of libraries. After graduating with a BA degree from Central Michigan University, Mr. Courtright attended the University of Michigan Graduate School and received his Masters degree in Library Science. From there, he managed the largest cooperative multi-type library organization in Michigan (The Library Network), administered a library grant in aid program for the State Library of Pennsylvania, established the Delaware County Library System, and served as Library Director for the Maricopa County Library District in Phoenix, AZ.
While at Maricopa County, Mr. Courtright received the top award given in 2006 from the Arizona State Quality Improvement Program, as well as a Certificate of Appreciation for his work as an Executive Mentor.
Mr. Courtright spearheaded several library innovations throughout his career, including self check-out/check-in, automated information networks, the one desk service concept, and created a Dewey-less library system now branded as ShelfLogic, which revolutionized the organization of book collections.
His community work has included a wide array of positions: Saint Stephen's School board member, Delaware County Literacy Council board member, Treasurer of Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble SEQUENZA, board member and Rector's Warden at St. Clement's Church, President of the Greater Harrisburg Arts Council, and Chair of the City of Harrisburg Architectural Review Board. In addition, he has been a board member and Vice-Chair of PALINET, Chairman of the District Library Center Administrator's Organization, President of the Capitol Are Library Association, and board member of the Consortium of Health Agencies.
Since retiring and moving to Palm Springs, Mr. Courtright has been appointed a board member of the Palm Springs Public Library, and he serves as Secretary of the Palermo HOA board, Historian and board member for the Palm Springs Community Concert Association, and is a board member of the San Rafael Neighborhood Organization. He is Treasurer and board member of the Palm Springs Public Library Foundation.
Doug Hudson is an architect who spent the majority of his career as a principal and director of design for a Los Angeles firm specializing in large-scale institutional projects, including hospitals and research laboratories.
He has two degrees in architecture from the University of Southern California, and has continued his involvement in higher education over the years, serving as a design juror and critic at USC, UCLA and Cal Poly Pomona. He has lectured on design topics numerous times, including at West Week in Los Angeles, and at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Ten years ago, he moved to Palm Springs full time, after designing and building his own home there. In addition to his architecture practice, which is now concentrated on private residences and hotel projects, he has been involved in the community in a number of ways.
With a life-long interest in historic preservation, he quickly became involved in the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, and serves as an Advisor to its Board of Directors.
Hudson has been extensively involved with the Palm Springs Art Museum, having been a board member and chair of the Architecture and Design Council. He was a founder of the Museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion.
Hudson has been particularly active with the City of Palm Springs, serving for a number of years on its Architectural Advisory Committee. More recently, he has been active as a Planning Commissioner, and has served as Chair.
Doug and his husband Erich Burkhart, also an architect, split their time between homes in Palm Springs’ Old Las Palmas neighborhood and at The Sea Ranch, in northern California. Both houses were designed around their extensive book collection.
GEORGE "ED" MCBRIDE
George “Ed” McBride is a recognized library publisher and advocate who is passionate about libraries and end-user access to information.
Ed has extensive experience serving all types of libraries, both internally and externally, for many years.
As an administrator, he built a reputation for identifying strategic solutions for libraries and end users. Ed helped to create marketing programs to grow and encourage usage and discoverability. He also managed the development and implementation of library programming, including re-branding, staff consolidation and resource integration.
Just a sample of some of Ed’s other past positions include serving as a Library Administrator with a major capital program, serving on a national-level library advocacy board in a leadership role, and serving as corporate representative to the national library association. He has experience in library publishing, as well.
Ed earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Memphis in a unique program partnership between the University and the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library and Information System. The program combined academic and public library technology solutions and design, as well as management of library technology.
Ed also has served as a Trustee on the Palm Springs Public Library Board of Trustees since January 2017. In addition, Ed has served as an active Board member for the past 10 years on the ALA United for Libraries Division and most recently, has served as Division President, representing library trustees, foundations, friends and advocates at the national level.
Peter Rittenhouse is a retired non-profit executive. Originally from Philadelphia, he graduated from the University of Delaware and attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he studied architecture. Professionally, he focused on human resources and manufacturing for the first phase of his career. Mr. Rittenhouse was instrumental in the fundraising and construction of two large capital projects, including the award-winning and environmentally sensitive Friends Center in Philadelphia.
For the last 25 years, he has been devoted primarily to senior health and activities. He was the Executive Director of the Joslyn Center for 7 years before retiring in 2012.
Mr. Rittenhouse has been active in the non-profit fundraising community as well. He was a founding member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Desert Communities Chapter and served as its second President. He was a board member of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, and is a current board member of Jewish Family Service of the Desert.
Peter is a life-long lover of libraries and is a voracious reader.
He has lived in Palm Springs for 11 years.
Luxury realtor David Sidley believes that every great city should have a great library – and Palm Springs is no exception.
Known locally for his expertise regarding high-end properties, David got his start in Palm Springs as a Research Analyst and Grant Writer at the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, a developer of affordable housing for working families in the Coachella Valley. There, he helped secure funding for an expansion of Coyote Run, an affordable apartment complex in Palm Springs.
David has lived in Palm Springs for nearly 20 years, but grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Housing Studies.
David loves libraries – often visiting them on his travels and passionately cultivating a large personal library at home.